I test drove the new Range Rover Sport – it's a dam good car that trumps old model in every department

WHATEVER you think of Jaguar Land Rover, no one can deny they are the masters of the publicity stunt.

They put a Jaguar F-Pace through a Hot Wheels-style loop-the-loop.

They put an E-Pace through a corkscrew jump.

They built Tower Bridge with 5.8million Lego bricks to launch the Land Rover Discovery — and then got Bear Grylls to abseil down it.

They even shut down New York for Daniel Craig to drive the old Range Rover Sport.

But for me, this one is the most impressive. Why?

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Because it’s just as blockbuster as all the others — and it shows exactly what the car was built to do.

Not to mention it cost pennies in comparison.

No one is doing a loop-the-loop in an F-Pace.

No one is doing a barrel roll in an E-Pace, not deliberately anyway.

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But customers of the third-gen Range Rover Sport will want to know it can drive through a flood.

Perhaps not a torrent of water rushing at you at 750 tonnes per minute — as seen here — but we did have some biblical weather last winter.

Fair play to Bond stunt driver and W Series racer Jess Hawkins for accepting the challenge/risk of driving up the spillway ramp of Iceland’s Karahnjukar Dam.

Think, I’m A Celeb’s Celebrity Cyclone challenge but with cars. And far more serious consequences.

Lose traction and it’s game over.

She’d be flushed down a 295ft drop to the valley floor below.

And she’d be dead.

Jess admitted: “Driving into the spillway, knowing what was behind me if things went wrong, made this the most challenging stunt I’ve ever undertaken.

“But the new Range Rover Sport made it look easy. The traction and composure inspired so much confidence I was actually able to enjoy it.”


So, we know the new car can swim in deeper water (90cm) and is truly exceptional off-road, but how else does it trump the outgoing version?

Key facts: Range Rover Sport

Price: £79,125

Engine: 3-litre 6cyl turbo diesel

Power: 300hp

0-60mph: 6.3secs Top speed: 135mph

Economy: 37mpg

CO2: 196g/km

Out: September

In every single department, actually. Looks. Tech. Refinement. Dynamics. As well as being more mindful of the world we live in.

Basically, it has all the goodness of the big-daddy Range Rover featured last week, shrink-wrapped in the PE kit of a Range Rover Sport.

Let’s run through the highlights: Air suspension, rear-wheel steering, 48-volt active roll control system, electronic active differential . . . all contributing to sports car performance, in a stiffer body with less drag.

You can have 3-litre six-cylinder petrol or diesel mild hybrids, 510hp plug-in hybrids that’ll do 70 miles on pure electric, or a 530hp BMW-sourced 4.4-litre V8. Yep, me too.

Pure electric version to follow in 2024.

It goes without saying the cabin is lush and tech-rich. Curved screens front and back. Wireless Apple CarPlay. Amazon Alexa. Over-the-air software updates to keep it fresh.

Best of all, Range Rover Sport starts at £79k, which is £20k cheaper than a Range Rover, and both will be built exclusively at Solihull.

Coming soon to a Premier League training ground near you.

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